Lauder students pursue a course of study in a Program of Concentration.

The Lauder Institute Courses and Curriculum

The Lauder Institute’s joint degree is designed for students seeking academic challenge and a rigorous program dedicated to understanding the context of global business. Over 24 months, students take Lauder-specific courses, while completing core requirements linked to their MA in International Studies and the Wharton MBA degree.*

Coursework Overview

Lauder Institute coursework is grounded in the social sciences and humanities disciplines. Through in-class and field-based learning, students acquire a foundation in the geographic, historical, social, political, economic, and cultural factors that shape the varying nature of global business today. Opportunities for field-based learning occur through an eight-week summer immersion, the Lauder Intercultural Ventures, and the Global Knowledge Lab (MA thesis research).

Programs of Concentration

Upon admission to the Lauder Institute, students choose a Program of Concentration. The Institute offers five region-focused Programs of Concentration, plus the Global Program. Intensive, advanced language study is offered in all regional programs, with the exception of the General track Africa Program and the Global Program, which are targeted towards students with interests in these areas who have met the minimum language requirements for admission.

Africa

The Lauder Institute’s Africa Program focuses on understanding the factors shaping the context of African business, including the arts, culture, environment, history, politics, and social dynamics. Students will also study subnational differences, regional economic clusters, and Africa’s ever-changing geopolitical and economic relations with the world.

  • Languages of Instruction: English (General track), or French (Language & Culture track).
  • OPI Requirements: To apply for the French (Language & Culture track), applicants must test at the Advanced Low level, or above, in French. For the English (General track), a Superior-level of oral proficiency rating in any language other than English is required.
  • Summer Immersion locations (sites vary by language and year): Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe
  • Post-Immersion: In addition to Lauder Core Courses and other requirements, Africa Program students take either French or region-focused courses. General track Africa Program students, plus French language and culture Africa Program students who meet their graduation language requirement by the summer of their first year, take in the immediate fall term the “Paradigms and Paradoxes of Africa” Lauder course. After both courses, they may then take approved SAS electives. French language and culture Africa Program students take INTS-French courses until they meet the language requirement, and then they may enroll in SAS electives.

Learn more about Lauder in Africa here.

East and Southeast Asia

The Lauder Institute’s East and Southeast Asia Program focuses on understanding the factors shaping the context of East and Southeast Asia business, including the arts, culture, environment, history, politics, and social dynamics. Students will also study subnational differences, regional economic clusters, and East and Southeast Asia’s ever-changing geopolitical and economic relations with the world.

  • Languages of Instruction: Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Japanese
  • OPI Requirements: Applicants must test at the Advanced Low level or above on OPI in their Target Language. Those who attain Superior rating may take SAS electives in lieu of INTS-Language.
  • Summer Immersion locations (sites vary by language and year): China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore
  • Post-Immersion: In addition to the Lauder Core Courses and other requirements, students take language classes until they reach the Superior level. Students who attain Superior ratings in their Target Language may take SAS electives in lieu of INTS-Language.

Learn more about Lauder in East and Southeast Asia here.

Europe

The Lauder Institute’s Europe Program focuses on understanding the factors shaping the context of European business, including the arts, culture, environment, history, politics, and social dynamics. Students will also study subnational differences, regional economic clusters, and Europe’s ever-changing geopolitical and economic relations with the world.

  • Languages of Instruction: French, German, Russian, Spanish
  • OPI Requirements: Applicants must test at the Advanced Low level or above on the OPI in one of the Target Languages. Those who attain Superior ratings may take SAS electives in lieu of INTS-Language.
  • Summer Immersion locations (sites vary by language and year): France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Greece, United Kingdom
  • Post-Immersion: In addition to the Lauder Core Courses and other requirements, students take language classes until they reach the Superior level. Students who attain Superior ratings in their Target Language may take SAS electives in lieu of INTS-Language.

Learn more about Lauder in Europe here.

Latin America

The Lauder Institute’s Latin America Program focuses on understanding the factors shaping the context of Latin American business, including the arts, culture, environment, history, politics, and social dynamics. Students will also study subnational differences, regional economic clusters, and Latin America’s ever-changing geopolitical and economic relations with the world.

  • Languages of Instruction: Spanish, Portuguese
  • OPI Requirements: Applicants must test at the Advanced Low level or above on the OPI in one of the Target Languages. Those who attain a Superior OPI rating in Spanish may apply with Portuguese as their Target Language, and may also take SAS electives in lieu of INTS-Language.
  • Summer Immersion locations (sites vary by language and year): Argentina, Brazil, Lima, Peru, Mexico
  • Post-Immersion: In addition to the Lauder Core Courses and other requirements, students take language classes until they reach a Superior oral proficiency level. Students who attain Superior ratings in their Target Language may take SAS electives in lieu of INTS-Language.

Learn more about Lauder in LATAM here.

South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa (SAMENA)

The Lauder Institute’s SAMENA Program focuses on understanding the factors shaping the context of business in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, including the arts, culture, environment, history, politics, and social dynamics. Students will also study subnational differences, regional economic clusters, and SAMENA’s ever-changing geopolitical and economic relations with the world.

  • Languages of Instruction: Arabic, Hindi
  • OPI Requirements: Applicants must test at the Advanced Low level or above on the OPI in one of the above Target Languages. Those who attain Superior ratings may take SAS electives in lieu of INTS-Language.
  • Summer Immersion locations (sites vary by language and year): Tunisia, Egypt, UAE, Sri Lanka, India
  • Post-Immersion: In addition to the Lauder Core Courses and other requirements, students take language classes until they reach the Superior level. Students who attain Superior ratings in their Target Language may take SAS electives in lieu of INTS-Language.

Learn more about Lauder in SAMENA here.

Global

Global is distinguished by its emphasis on understanding what drives economic, political, and social order-making. Special focus is given to the analysis of key actors, geopolitical dynamics, cross-border intersections, and new formations taking shape within and across national borders and world regions. The overarching goal is to equip students with the skills to identify and analyze some of the greatest challenges and changes in political and economic power today.

  • Languages of Instruction: English
  • OPI Requirements: Applicants with a rating of Superior in a Target Language, other than English, of their choosing are eligible to apply to the Global Program.
  • Summer Immersion locations (updated every year) have included: China, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Vietnam, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
  • Global Program Courses: Upon return from the summer immersion, students in the Global Program must complete a total of four (4) classes, one during each semester of study.

Global Program Course Sequence

  • Developing a Global Mindset (Pre-Immersion): This short course introduces students to competing ideas of culture, human decision-making, and economy as foundational elements of global business.
  • The Politics of Power and Wealth (Fall, Year 1): This course provides students with the theoretical foundation for critical analysis of political and economic power and change. Course materials are drawn from the fields of anthropology, economics history, political science, and sociology.
  • International Order Making (Spring, Year 1): This course builds on the theoretical framework of the previous course, now layering specific examples and contextual knowledge as they relate to international politics and global, mass-scale phenomena. Topics such as comparative religion, media & politics, war and peace, global finance, technology, and the nature of state power are considered.
  • Foresight Strategy For Future Worlds (Fall, Year 2): This course introduces students to the field of foresight strategy and related non-probabilistic methods used to identify patterns, mechanisms, processes underpinning large and small scale systemic change. Related readings and experiential exercises help students to hone divergent and integrative thinking in support of skill-building in scenario planning, problem solving, innovation, and risk management. All Global Program students, in turn, develop and deliver a strategic foresight on a topic decided in consultation with the Director of the Global Program.
  • The Global Leader (Spring, Year 2): Explores theories of leadership that exist apart from what is commonly considered in the professional schools (e.g., Wharton, Penn Carey Law) to facilitate leadership development through discussion, in-class simulations, and self-reflection. Course materials are drawn from literature, film, and major events in international and domestic political, social, and economic history.

Joint Degree Requirements and Electives (14 Credit Units)

Lauder students need 14 credit units, or CUs, to graduate with a joint degree. These credits are fulfilled across various interdisciplinary graduate-level courses, and are supplemented by Lauder-specific research and language requirements.

Lauder Core Requirements (4 CU's)

All of our students benefit from Lauder-exclusive courses, including the following core courses:

  • Regional History (1 CU): Students choose a Regional History corresponding to their chosen Program of Concentration — Africa, East Asia, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, South Asia.
  • Regional Analysis — Politics, Markets & States (1 CU): Drawing on theories within the fields of comparative politics, comparative political economy, and macroeconomics, this course equips students with the conceptual tools for understanding and assessing the institutional environment of the business firm and its impact on national, regional and global competition.
  • Global Analysis — Law, Economics & Geopolitics (1 CU): Drawing on theories within the fields of international relations, international law, and international political economy, plus history, this course equips students with insight into the legal, economic, and historical legacies that are important to understanding the nature of global business today.
  • Leadership and Intercultural Learning (1 CU): Drawing on theories in the fields of organizational behavior, social psychology, and intercultural communication, this course aims to enhance leadership abilities in intercultural settings. Students will participate in interactive coursework and two Lauder Intercultural Ventures (week-long experiential modules focused on a thematic topic).

Program of Concentration Courses (5 CU's)

Students take one course each semester that corresponds to their Program of Concentration. Students in the Global Program take a required sequence of courses each semester of the Program. General track Africa Program students take a common core course during the first fall of the Lauder Program. All other students in Regional Programs take INTS-Language courses.

School of Arts & Sciences Elective (1 CU)

Lauder students take electives tied to their academic and regional interests. Each student must select one elective (1 CU) from the graduate-level offerings at Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences (SAS).

These courses may focus on the region of the student’s specialization or on the broader international context. The courses may be drawn from any of the social sciences or from the humanities. Students usually take these courses during the third and fourth semesters but may complete them at other times to fit their schedules.

Capstone Research Requirement

Students are expected to develop and demonstrate their research and analytical writing ability throughout their time at Lauder. This work begins in May of their first year and culminates in a two-fold thesis project, known as the Global Knowledge Lab (GKL), which is comprised of a group research paper and an individual research paper. Satisfactory completion of the GKL components is required to meet the MA degree research requirement.

International MBA Joint Credits (4 CU's)

Four credit units drawn from Wharton’s MBA Degree Requirements will count towards the MA degree.

Language Requirement

Lauder students are required to attain a Superior rating on an OPI in their chosen Target Language in order to satisfy the language requirement. N.B. The language requirement for the Class of 2022 is modified.

Lauder Institute Courses

In addition to taking courses at Penn and Wharton*, all Lauder students also take courses that are unique to the Lauder curriculum.

INTS 71X: Regional History

Regional History corresponding to a student’s chosen Program of Concentration — Africa, East Asia, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, or South Asia.

INTS 732: Regional Analysis — Politics, Markets & States

Drawing on theories within the fields of comparative politics, comparative political economy, and macroeconomics, this course equips students with the conceptual tools for understanding and assessing the institutional environment of the business firm and its impact on national, regional, and global competition. Topics include business groups, national systems of innovation, politics of private sector development, global supply chains, economic crisis, state capitalism, foreign direct investment, business culture, legal systems and venture capital, open economy politics, and the institutional origins of comparative advantage.

INTS 741: Leadership and Intercultural Learning

This course aims to enhance leadership abilities in intercultural settings. It consists of a series of tightly-integrated field and classroom-based learning activities including intensive workshops, lectures, and Lauder Intercultural Ventures (LIVs) immersions in different locations.

INTS 6XX or 7XX: INTS-Language or Program of Concentration Requirements

Students take specially designed courses in fulfillment of degree requirements. These courses may be INTS-Language courses, Africa Program courses or Global Program courses.

INTS 721: Global Analysis — Law, Economics & Geopolitics

Drawing on theories within the fields of international relations, international law, and international political economy, plus history, the course equips students with insight into the legal, economic, and historical legacies shaping global business today. Topics include the politics of economic sanctions, refugee crises, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), international arbitration law, intellectual property rights law, the World Trade Organization, and the historical impact of economic ideologies and invention on business practice.

INTS 991 Master’s Research: GKL Team Project and Individual Paper

The Global Knowledge Lab (GKL) is an integral part of the Lauder curriculum. It is woven into the first and second year of the Program. Students will be enrolled in 7-10 classes over the course of their first year that focus on best practices in research design and fieldwork methodology.

*At Lauder, students can also earn a JD/MA in 3 years from the Penn Carey Law School and Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences, which has its own set of requirements. Contact us to learn more.

The Joseph H. Lauder Institute
256 South 37th street
2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6330